The History of Video Poker

Video Poker, One of the Lowest House Edge Games!

Read about the history of video poker and how it came to be.


The history of video poker machines began at the same time when the Walkman was invented along with many other products that we use or have used massively, like cell phones, video games, VCRs, PCs, LCD Displays, printers, floppy disks and what not. It was the golden age of technology and it was the glorious 1970s. That was when casinos saw technology as an important asset and began introducing video poker and computerized video slot machines in their premises.

The video poker game was simply perfect. It offered many advantages that table poker couldn’t, such as intimacy, fast-paced game play, straightforward action and no dealers. You could simply pick a video poker machine and play poker without being intimidated by a dealer or other players and thus maximize your profits.

The Beginnings of the History of Video Poker

In principle, the first slot machine that had poker symbols on its reels can be said to be the first poker machine. When the reels stopped and the symbols aligned, the machine would assign a random poker hand after which a payout was triggered, if the hand was a valid poker hand. Sounds familiar? Video poker machines work on the same principle. This is actually what inspired the creation of video poker games: there are five so-called slots where the cards appear, and if they form a poker hand, you win.

Si Redd was the inventor of the first real video poker machine. He had contacted one of the biggest slots companies then, Bally, to introduce them the idea of a new game. The Bally executives supported the patent but then seemed very uninterested to distribute it and further develop it, so Si Redd took the patent and gave us one of the biggest casino games today.

He managed to spread the new game across America with the help of American casinos and by 1979 casino players were able to play video poker with “Draw Poker” being the most popular video poker game then. By today’s standards the technology used for “Draw Poker” was very primitive featuring a modern design by standards then and a big TV screen. But, this game was very important in the history of video poker.

Video Poker in 1980s and 1990s

Once video poker entered casinos, poker players went nuts over it. It was the most popular new game by 1981 in casinos all over the United States. The leading company that helped transform the market then with the help of video poker was IGT, then known as Sircoma, today known as a developer of both land-based and online casino games.

Video slots picked up on the hype too. The moment when video poker games became popular people began to give even more attention to video slots. Little do people know that “Draw Poker” was the predecessor of one of the most successful video poker variations today, “Jacks or Better”, found at every online casino, which has spurred many interesting other video poker variations too.

In the 1990s the history of video poker took a new turn and games took on a new shape and new markets, the online casino market. By the mid-90s online casinos began to appear and in 1995 the first online video poker game was released. This was a great step forward for the game and after 20+ years online video poker games today count as one of the lowest house edge games.

The History of Video Poker Continues

If it wasn’t for IGT’s “Draw Poker” (later “Jacks or Better”), online video poker games wouldn’t be what they are today. This game has inspired many today’s successful and large software developers like NetEnt, Playtech, Microgaming and the others to further develop the concepts of video poker. Today video poker games are based on new and exciting concepts coupled with interesting bonus features.